Graduation Policy

POLICY

It is the policy of the Health Science Center that students who satisfy all Health Science Center eligibility criteria and requirements for graduation shall be designated as "graduates."

PERTINENT INFORMATION

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has set a standard that at least 25 percent of credit hours applicable to an baccalaureate degree or at least 33 percent of credit hours applicable to an graduate or post-baccalaureate professional degree must be earned through instruction offered by the university granting the degree.

Students who satisfy all eligibility criteria and requirements from the Health Science Center may or may not participate in a university sponsored graduation ceremony/reception at their option; nevertheless, their status in the official record of the university is recorded as a “graduate.”

Degrees are conferred and certificates awarded only on official dates publicly announced by the Office of the University Registrar.  Exceptions are made on a case by case basis, and will only be awarded on the last day of the month in which the requirements are completed.

The certificate or degree is awarded by the Board of Regents following the student’s satisfaction of all academic requirements for graduation.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Regular Instructional Program

Educational program of instruction defined by a curriculum approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) for which term and/or semester hour credits as well as Certificate and/or a degree is awarded.

Curriculum

A list of courses, credits, and other requirements associated with completion of a regular instructional program.

Confer

The presentation of a degree or certificate to a graduate.

Graduate (noun)

Means a person who has qualified for one of the University’s awards and has received the degree or certificate for that award.

Graduate (verb)

Means to attend a graduation ceremony and receive a degree or certificate.

UNIVERSITY PROCEDURE

Application for Graduation

Degrees are not normally awarded automatically upon completion of scholastic requirements. To be considered as candidates for degrees, students must submit the Application for Graduation online using their student portal by the appropriate deadline. Graduation application deadlines are:

  • May 30 for fall conferral

  • November 30 for spring conferral

  • February 15 for summer conferral

These dates may vary from term to term; updated deadlines will be communicated by the university through means of the university website and/or via students' campus e-mail accounts. Students should obtain an official degree audit one semester prior to their expected graduation date to avoid graduation conflicts and delays. Students who graduate with their first bachelor’s degree may be eligible for a tuition rebate, particularly under the Texas B-On Time Loan Program. Contact the Office of Veteran Services and Financial Aid for additional information.

Operating Requirements

Catalog of Graduation for Degree Programs

Students have three years from their term of original registration to complete a bachelor’s degree program and 6 years to complete a graduate or professional program under the catalog in effect when they initially registered. Students may choose a subsequent catalog under which to complete graduation requirements, provided they have completed at least one course during the academic year the selected catalog was in effect with a letter grade other than W or F and the appropriate dean has approved the amended degree plan. Students must complete all degree requirements under that selected catalog. Choosing a new catalog begins a new three-year or six-year time limit. Students who graduate under one catalog and begin a second degree must begin the new degree under the catalog in effect at that time. Students must have an approved degree plan at the time an application for graduation is filed.

Catalog of Graduation for Courses

Students must meet the course requirements in effect when a course is taken. This prevents students from retaking courses to meet new requirements, yet allows students the opportunity to benefit from new course requirements intended to promote student success. For example, if a student has declared a program of study for the current academic year but has taken courses previously, this student would be held to the course requirements in effect at the time the courses were taken, not the year the program of study was declared.

Eligibility Criteria and Requirements for Graduation

  1. The student’s cumulative Health Science Center Grade Point Average must be 2.00 or higher.
  2. Students must have no pending disciplinary issues as defined in the university’s catalog.
  3. A minimum of 25 percent of the total credit hours of the required coursework for an baccalaureate degree or a minimum of 33 percent of the total credit hours of the required coursework for an graduate post-baccalaureate professional degree must be instruction provided by the school granting the award.
  4. Transfer credits accepted by Health Science Center and applied to a Health Science Center degree plan shall be approved by the Office of the University Registrar and the program to which the credit would apply. Please refer to the Policy on Awarding Academic Credit in this Catalog.

Graduation Ceremony Policy

The University conducts a commencement ceremony at the end of the spring semester. Candidates for graduation are not required to attend the graduation ceremony to be considered “graduates.” This is the only sanctioned graduation ceremony by Health Science Center. The faculty marshals chosen by the graduating class and approved by the school administration may hood the candidates at the graduation ceremony. No other individuals will be allowed to hood the candidates for graduation. However, current Health Science Center faculty members may petition the Dean of the School to allow them to present the diploma to their daughter/son during the ceremony. Photos and videos are available for purchase through an outside vendor which coordinated by the Office of Student Life.

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES

A candidate for the degree must:

  • Satisfy all academic requirements for graduation

  • Satisfy all indebtedness to the university, including loaned or rental property

  • Make formal application for his/her degree to the Office of the University Registrar by the specified deadline for that term of graduation

  • Be recommended to receive the degree by the faculty, and the certification by the dean of the school and the president of the Health Science Center

  • Not have an “F,” "Incomplete” or outstanding grade in any course in any semester

  • Pay the graduation fee

Degrees and certificates are provided after final grades have been recorded on the student’s permanent academic record and the student has been conferred as a graduate.

FACULTY RESPONSIBILITIES

Faculty must submit final grades by published deadlines in their respective school’s academic calendar. Faculty are responsible for notifying their associate deans or program chairs if unable to record grades due to an unexpected absence and must have an alternate to record grades.

OFFICE OF THE UNIVERSITY REGISTRAR RESPONSIBILITIES

The Office of the University Registrar will review the following requirements for graduation:

  • Minimum number of Semester Credit Hours have been completed

  • Minimum grade point average has been met

  • All final official transcripts have been received, along with any foreign transcript evaluations necessary

  • All prerequisites have been completed

  • Any transfer credits have been posted to the student’s record

  • Any previous degrees earned have been posted to the student’s record

  • All Health Science Center grades have been posted

OFFICE OF STUDENT LIFE’S RESPONSIBILITIES

The Office of Student Life is responsible for securing a venue for the ceremony, coordinating a rehearsal and hosting the ceremony. They are also responsible for contracting outside vendors for the ceremony for videography and photography.

UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT RESPONSIBILITIES

The President is the presiding officer who officiates over graduation ceremonies.

REPLACEMENT OF DIPLOMAS

A lost or destroyed diploma can be replaced upon payment of a duplicate diploma fee and completion of the Request for Duplicate Diploma or Certificate form with the Office of the University Registrar. The graduate must complete a Request for Duplicate Diploma form and a statutory declaration. Any other supporting evidence is to be attached to the request.

REVOCATION OF DEGREES

The University reserves the right to revoke any degree awarded if it is proven through student disciplinary or other action that the student is guilty of cheating, plagiarism, or other academic dishonesty or fraudulent activity and obtained the degree under false pretenses.